Can Speed Limiters Save More Women’s Lives?

Can Speed Limiters Save More Women’s Lives?Traffic accidents are common, and injuries from them can span from mild to severe. Over the years, an interesting trend has been studied via the various traffic safety organizations: a greater percentage of women are more susceptible to severe injuries and fatalities than men. There are several reasons for this, and changes have been made to try and counteract this occurrence with unimpressive results.

Recently, new studies have been conducted and a new development to save women’s lives (and everyone else’s) has been devised. Speeding is a huge factor in car crashes and the severity of the injuries received, and as such has become the target for car developers and manufacturers. Speed limiters in vehicles could help keep drivers safe on the road, and has already shown progress and success in other countries.

Why are women at greater risk for injury in car accidents?

While more men die each year in car accidents (due to more men being on the road and more men practicing risky driving behavior), women are “more likely than males to be killed or injured in crashes of equal severity.” So why is that the case? It comes down to several factors.

For years, cars have been designed and manufactured with the male body in mind – that is a 171-pound, 5-foot-9-inch dummy that is used in the crash tests to determine the safety of a car. It was only in 2003 that a dummy representing a female driver was created and used in the crash tests as well. So until then, cars did not cater to the female populace when designing the safety features of a car, contributing to more injuries and fatalities.

In further studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), it has been noted that women tend to drive lighter and smaller vehicles, whereas men are more often involved in crashes where they are driving heavier vehicles such as trucks. A heavier, larger vehicle often provides more protection for those inside, while dealing more damage to the vehicle it collides with.

Consumer Reports add that “The numbers indicate that women more often drive smaller, lighter cars and that they’re more likely than men to be driving the struck vehicle in side-impact and front-into-rear crashes,” and that “the driver of the striking vehicle is at lower risk of injury than the driver of the struck vehicle in those kinds of crashes.”

Finally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reports that men are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors, “such as speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, and not wearing a seat belt.” Further, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studies show “that a female driver or front passenger who is wearing her seat belt is 17 percent more likely than a male to be killed when a crash takes place.”

How can speed limiters help women drivers?

Speeding plays an integral part in not only increasing the likelihood of ending up in a car crash, but also in increasing the damage done to those involved in the accident. EMC Insurance puts it plainly, stating “for every 10 mph of increased speed, the risk of dying in a crash doubles. In practical terms, increasing driving speed from 60 mph to 80 mph increases the risk of a fatal crash by 4 times.”

Speeding reduces the driver’s reaction time, increases centrifugal force when going around curves in the road, and increases rollover risk. According to the NHTSA, in 2020, there were 11,258 fatalities attributed to speeding.

With that in mind, the IIHS has been looking into making crashes less deadly by focusing on the speed at which cars can go. This is where the Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) comes into play. The ISA is a required piece of technology in cars in Europe, and America is just beginning to look into having it be required for its own new vehicles. What the ISA does is “prevent speeding or issue warnings if the car is going faster than the speed limit.”

If ISAs are indeed put into new cars, it could greatly reduce the amount of accidents as well as the severity of accidents. While some drivers may become angry that they can’t drive at their usual 5 or 10 miles above the speed limit, drivers in Europe state that even though it took a while to get used to, they were pleased by a side-effect of ISAs: fewer speeding tickets.

The implementation of ISA “is expected to reduce collisions by 30% and deaths by 20%,” according to the European Transport Safety Council. ISA has already proven to be “most effective” in Norway,  where it has been studied since 2014.

Saving lives and keeping drivers safe on the road is the number one priority for the auto industry, according to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. It is certainly something we’d like to see happen to our streets. Enough people, especially women drivers, are injured or killed from car accidents with larger, speeding cars every year. We look forward to seeing the automotive industry move forward in creating safer vehicles for everyone. If you have been involved in a car accident, contact Yeboah Law Group today by using our contact form to schedule an appointment. We proudly serve Fort Lauderdale, Miami-Dade, and all of South Florida.